Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Mental Health Monday - Post Marathon Depression

First off, yes I realize that it is no longer Monday, but I was so out of it yesterday that there just wasn't any way that I could muster up the energy to write a post.

Second, this has become a long post, so hang in there.

Source
And third, welcome to Mental Health Monday! Having a bachelors degree in Psychology and dedicating my research career to studying clinical populations (specifically autism), I really wanted to incorporate my passion for mental health into this blog. My interest in mental health goes beyond just a professional one to a personal one. I personally have been struggling with mental health difficulties for many years and also have family and friends who are fighting their own mental health battles.

It seems that our society is starting to recognize the seriousness and importance of mental health disorders. Unfortunately, we still have a long way to go to reduce the stigma associated with mental health disorders and increase awareness of proper screenings, diagnoses and treatments. These are real issues with natural causes. They are "real illnesses" of the brain just as the flu, pneumonia and cancer are "real illnesses" of the body. OK, soap box moment over.

During Mental Health Monday, I plan to talk about the psychological components of running and athletics in general. But I will also talk about mental health topics as they relate to everyday living.

The first topic I want to talk about is Post Marathon Depression, as I am really experiencing post race blues right now. Everyone expects to be sore and exhausted in the days following a marathon, or any other endurance race. But no one thinks about how the race with effect you psychologically after you've crossed the finish line. We spend so much time and energy focusing on our goal. Our lives become so focused on our training to the exclusion of other things in life such as family, friends and other hobbies. But now, the race is over, the adrenaline and endorphins are gone and we don't know what to do with ourselves.

There is a lot of information and advice out there about how to "combat" the post race blues. Just google "post marathon depression" and you will find a lot of articles on the topic. So instead of summarizing the common advice, I will highlight my personal game plan to pull myself out of this post-race funk.

Pink Sugar Running Shoes' Personal Post Marathon Depression Rx:

  • Spend time with my amazing boyfriend.


  • Plan more lunch and dinner dates with friends.
  • Enjoy some yummy foods I cut out during training.
    Some of the foods I have already enjoyed!
  • Set new race goals - Boston 2015!
  • Try new cross training workouts - Walking while my body recovers, spinning when the soreness start to subside and strength training.
  • Read some books I have been wanting to read for a while, running related and girly novels!
  • Write that darn Masters Thesis that has been hanging over my head all year.
  • Weekly appointments with my therapist.
  • And most importantly, be kind to myself!


Here are some of the articles I have read over the last 24 hours:

Runningfit.com - Post Marathon Depression

Livestrong.com - Post marathon or triathlon depression

The Marathon Aftermath

*Disclaimer* - I am not a mental health professional or clinician. The thoughts in this blog post are my own opinions. If you are struggling with a mental health illness, I urge you to seek professional help.

5 comments:

  1. I like the idea of laying out these steps for your health in plain English! Sometimes when I'm in a funk, I know that I KNOW everything I could do to feel better, but I can't come up with a solution. Having a list certainly seems helpful!
    It seems like there's a high and a low with any big accomplishment/event you throw yourself into. I've been reading up on post wedding blues. When I read about it before the wedding I thought "are you kidding? I'm just going to be glad to have my time back!" Now I think I actually understand!
    Let's have one of those lunch/dinner dates soon :-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm not surprised you're going through the same thing. I actually came across people talking about post wedding/honeymoon blues in my search about the aftermath of a marathon. You're totally right, its likely to happen after any big accomplishment. And yes! Let's find a time this week :)

      Delete
  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Very real feelings indeed - some of the readings for this week's grad course on stress and development discuss how stress can come from underarousal - I'm sure especially for busy people like us. Great strategies for getting through it! Btw those foods look amazing... - Michelle

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Gotta love Paesanos, Yogurtland and Starbucks!

      Delete